Saturday, August 27, 2011

Questionable information not questioned

Someday I will write about a psychic story on which I worked while at The London Free Press. It was a good story but all of it was bunkum. The paper ran the story because it was a fun, good read. Period. No one was concerned that it was totally false. (To many readers, stories like that one make the newspaper staff look like fools.)

Error filled stories weaken the brand. This is a fact. Studies have found that newspapers do a great disservice to themselves and to their industry when they run stuff clearly, and accurately, seen as erroneous by many.

Today, under the headline 'Weird' science, The Free Press promoted the return of William Shatner's Weird or What? on the History channel. (History channel? I don't think so. Often there is no history in the history that is presented here.)

Bill Harris asks in his Sun Media television column, quoting William Shatner, "What is a crystal skull doing buried in prehistoric times?" The answer to the question is: They are fakes. British Museum and Smithsonian skulls were conclusively determined to be fakes carved with relatively modern equipment.

When I think of the story on which I worked those many years ago, I hang my head in shame. Running stuff like that, printing bunkum as fact as Harris is doing this weekend, does nothing to further the reader's understanding of our world, of science.

If you are interested in knowing a little more about the myth of the crystal skulls, check out this article from Archaeology magazine. It carries more weight than the stuff being run by the History Channel and being reported by Sun Media.

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